Empowering youth, families and communities with gender affirming services, training and research.



Matt Amore Purple

Matt Amore

Group Facilitator

Matt Amore (M.Ed., M.A) is an elementary school teacher for the New York City Department of Education. He has taught a range from 2nd to 7th graders (general and special education) during his nine years in the classroom. He has taught primarily in progressive schools, currently at The Neighborhood School in the East Village. In addition to teaching the core subjects, Matt is dedicated to guiding students in work around understanding their identity and incorporating social justice themes throughout the curriculum. He is preparing to transition out of the classroom and into school administration within the next couple of years. Matt lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog, Duncan.


Derrick T. Jordan


Derrick T. Jordan, M.Div, LMSW, is the Director of the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project. In addition to being a highly-trained mental health professional, he is a classically trained musician who earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, cum laude, from Virginia Commonwealth University; a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary; and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. For years, Derrick has led spiritually-based educational initiatives while serving in various ministerial capacities at nationally recognized faith organizations. Derrick’s pastoral care and counseling experience helps guide his clinical work; navigating the complexities of faith and spirituality at the intersection of race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity/expression, and sexuality.

Derrick trained with the Ackerman Institute’s Social Work and Diversity Program, the Gender & Family Project’s Unity Project in Family Engagement and Acceptance, The Minuchin Center for the Family, and has experience as a therapist working with those impacted by the child welfare system. The lens through which Derrick’s work is informed is one that celebrates the richness of diversity and culture to create a greater sense of wholeness and wellbeing. In addition to providing leadership to the Gender & Family Project, Derrick is a GFP family therapist and group facilitator. In his leisure time, Derrick is a long-distance runner, avid reader, foodie, and music enthusiast.

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Elana Lancaster

Associate Director for Training

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Nat Roberts

He/Him, They/Them
Research Coordinator

Nat Roberts is the Research Coordinator for the Gender and Family Project. He received his master's in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College in 2022, and now focuses on combining their activism and research expertise to expand resources and psychological literature on trans and gender non-conforming individuals. They hope increase GFP's impact by collaborating with other research entities and mentoring other TGNC researchers.

Nat dreams of a world where trans and gender non-conforming folks can live safely and authentically. His hobbies include biking, skateboarding, programming, being a research nerd and breaking the gender binary.
Ariel Purple

Ariel Roland-Waring

Group Facilitator

Ariel Roland-Waring, LCAT in-progress, is from Queens, New York. They completed their BA in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College. In May 2019, they graduated from School of Visual Arts with a MPS in Art Therapy. Ariel’s prior experience includes youth development in after-school programming, family therapy for domestic violence survivors and their children, and anti-oppressive art therapy for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing street homelessness.

They are interested in building systems of care outside of the medical model and providing culturally-relevant mental health services for trans youth of color. Their pastimes include embroidery, painting, and gender anarchy.

Sanniel Sanabia

Sanniel Sanabia

Program Coordinator


Sanniel Sanabia (he/him) is the Program Coordinator for Ackerman Institute's Gender & Family Project. An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, he has worked in the non-profit sector with queer BIPOC and Latinx populations since moving to New York City. With over 7 years of experience in project management and advocacy, he is passionate about impactful community work that creates equity for all marginalized people, while reducing the effects of systemic oppression until that is achieved.

Sanniel currently resides in Harlem. His hobbies include photography, traveling, and indoor gardening. His idols are James Baldwin, Bell Hooks, and the lady whose voice narrates the Popeyes commercials.

Futaba Shioda

Futaba Shioda

Social Media Coordinator

Futaba Shioda invests his energy and care into empowering marginalized communities, artists, and workers. In addition to his work at Gender & Family Project, his gender advocacy includes work with Gender Conference NYC, New York Transgender Advocacy Group, as well as consultations for The New York Times, Penguin Random House, and multiple scripts and other literature. Futaba is an actor working towards artistic and material improvements for transgender and non-binary communities. futabashioda.com

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Paul Silverman

GFP Project Associate

Paul Silverman, LCSW, is a Project Associate at the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project. Paul was born and raised in Brooklyn and has been a social worker in New York City since graduating from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work in 2017. For the last five years, Paul provided trauma-informed therapeutic services to families impacted by parental incarceration. He believes that therapeutic healing alongside advocacy and mitigation practices have the potential to create meaningful systemic change.

Prior to becoming a social worker, Paul worked in elementary school education, volunteered in a college-in-prison program with people earning bachelor’s degrees, and was a leader in community-based youth development programs. Outside of his professional life, you can find him biking around Prospect Park, cooking for friends and family, or spending time with his 4 nieces.